Facebook reps were asked why they haven’t outright banned Infowars during a Television Critics Association presser Wednesday.
While attempting to unveil their latest video feature Facebook Watch, several company reps struggled to address questions from reporters asking what steps they were taking to censor Infowars on the failing social media platform.
The company’s vice president of video, Fidji Simo, described Infowars as “atrocious” and admitted the company’s trying to strike a balance between free speech and censorship.
In an exchange between Simo and reporters, he described a pop-up will warn users, “You might not want to do that,” if they attempt to share Infowars content that’s been flagged by “fact checkers.”
Simo also claimed false statements by “authentic persons” are allowed so long as community guidelines are followed.
Check out the exchange transcribed by Entertainment Weekly:
“To be totally transparent, I find Infowars to be absolutely atrocious,” Simo replied. “But we have the job of balancing freedom of expression and safety. So the way we navigate that is, there’s a pretty big difference between what is allowed on Facebook and what gets distribution. What we’re trying to do is make it so that if you’re saying something that’s untrue on Facebook — which you’re allowed to say as long as you’re an authentic person and you adhere to community standards — but we’re trying to make it so it doesn’t get that much distribution… We don’t always get it right, it’s very complicated, but that’s our principle.”
Reporter: How do you limit distribution?
Simo: “When we have something that a fact checker has told is not true or a lot of our audience is telling us is not true, we limit distribution. We tell our algorithms that this is not something we want to see distributed widely. That’s one way. Another way is the way misinformation spreads is by people sharing the content.… We pop up a module that says, ‘Our fact checker says [this] is inaccurate, you might not want to do that.’ That decreases distribution by 80 percent, it’s very effective at reducing the spread of it.”
A reporter then brings Fox News’ presence on the platform into question, claiming the network promulgates fake news:
Reporter: One of the most prominent organizations you’re working with is Fox News, and they’re sort of incorrigible about proliferating a lot of misinformation. Can you speak to your reasoning behind that? Why would you want to work with an organization like that when, as you said, you’re trying to limit the spread of false information?
Stepping in to save his colleague, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy Rick Van Even tried to end the discussion, saying, “Yeah, well, we have limited time, I’d like to keep it — Fidji doesn’t lead the news organization, Campbell Brown leads that…”
Reporters grew unruly at the remarks, with one shouting, “Answer the question!” from the background, while another shouted, “We’ll give you time!”
Again, the reporter asked why Fox News was still allowed to have a platform: “But Fox News is still on every day, including the weekends. They’re still on this programming list.”
“So is CNN,” Simo countered, eliciting laughter from the audience, “presumably because they don’t think CNN and Fox News are remotely compatible when it comes to accuracy,” EW suspects.
Over the past few months the corporate media has become increasingly restless with Infowars’ social media presence, with Fake News CNN leading the charge to eradicate us from Facebook and YouTube.
On a related note, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost over $16 billion Wednesday after his company’s market value fell over 20 percent amid news the social network missed revenue and daily user projections.
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